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June 05, 2006

All They Wanted Was Freedom

Seventeen years ago yesterday, the massacre happened.

More still photos here.

I'd say something about "lest we forget," but I know we already have forgotten. All they wanted was freedom.

h/t J.D.

Posted by annika, Jun. 5, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: History



A very sad day indeed. Terrible to see the the workings of authoritarianism at it's worst.

However, to one degree or another ALL societies will kill those that they feel are determined to overthrow the government or seriously destroy or intend to harm the "civil order" or ignore the rule of law.

Most countries have in their histories many examples of horrors committed against civilians that were asking or demanding what you, I think, simplistically call "freedom".

How different was the assination of Fred Hampton and other Black Panthers? Or the army shooting students at Kent state? Or the Nepalese King fighting the "maosists" who in fact were simply insisting on a return to a parlimentary democracy? Or the brutal strike breaking of the 20's and 30's? Or the black listing and harassment of Americans by the FBI in the early 50's? Or the Samoza death squads? And what would it have looked like had the voters of Alambama rioted, and been killed by the hundreds by the army in Montgomery? Could one have said all they wanted was the freedom to run their state the way they wanted?

The victors write the history books.

There are thousands of examples in the 20th century of government oppression and murder around the globe.

Our President shakes hands with these people every day, pats them on the back and looks into their eyes and sees........ money and keeps his mouth shut. Nobody has done any differently in America that I can remember. We Like that slug Kaddafi now that he willing to talk about oil sales, before that he was a terrorist supporting "Saddam" and the bomber of flight 103. But I guess he went to sensitivity training and had an epiphany like our marines from Haditha will. How many Iraqi's are frighting for their freedom from our immoral occupation?

Tiennamin was horrific and dramatic but not special or unique. Just well covered on television in a country that prides itself on protecting "freedom" while frequently doing the opposite.

We feel better about our transgressions when viewing thoses of others. Especially when they are commies posing as capitalists buying the notes on our houses.

Posted by: strawman on Jun. 6, 2006


What a bunch of sophmoric babble. You managed to mix moral relativism, partisan talking points, distorted history, and a strawman or two all at once. Talk about a toxic brew. I don't have enough time during a work day to respond to such nonsense. Where does one even begin? However, you were able to cram 3 or 4 posts worth of BS into just 1. So congrats on achieving excellent efficiency.

Posted by: Blu on Jun. 6, 2006


Thanks pal, coming from another purulent purveryer of bullshit I am pleased.

But the images of Tinenemin un-contextualized are just propaganda. As I said before sympathy for the innocent lives lost is too simple; they cannot just be morned without some reflection on the notion of freedom in America as well as in China and how there is a straight line to Iraq and our "not like the Chinese" protection of freedom that becomes our rationale for nation destruction and world hegemony disguised as the answer to Annika's "all they wanted was freedom" Boo Fucking Hoo!

Are you trying to tell me you don't owe the Chinese any money?

Posted by: strawman on Jun. 6, 2006

"There are thousands of examples in the 20th century of government oppression and murder around the globe."
-And 40 million of those examples were killed by the Maoist in China, 40 million Ukrainian peasants, zeks, and other undesirible lives were extiguished by the C.C.C.P., 3 million by Pol Pot, a million or so in the Balkans shot through the neck by Tito.
-Some can tolerate the wholesale, systematic, calculated, state sanctioned murder of tens of millions as long as there's a sociallist finger on the trigger, but cannot hide their indignation over 4 kids at Kent State or a few punks with concussions at the University of Wisconsin who were, ironically, protesting a war to contain the expansion of the murderous Marxists.

Posted by: Jasen on Jun. 6, 2006

The two systems are vastly different and history shows that although ours isn't perfect, it is morally superior to theirs. Just in human toll even in our darkest days (Civil War) we can't hold a candle to Soviet casaulties under Stalin, just as one example.

Innocents have lost thier lives on our soil but it's a rare occurence compared with our sikel & starred friends. We've had embarrassing moments but I'm all for killing to protect our form of government, if that's what it takes.

Posted by: Mike C. on Jun. 6, 2006

"How different was the assination of Fred Hampton and other Black Panthers? Or the army shooting students at Kent state?"

Well, let me see...hmmm.....??Oh, I know! You see, I can read about both of these from a number of sources, including sources available in public, government-sanctioned schools. (Hey, Straw, do you think the youth of China get to see that video or learn about the fateful day in government schools? What do you think would happen to the teacher who dared to show that video?) And you know what, Straw? If I do actually read about these events you used as such shining examples of moral equivalence, my government won't put a bullet in my brain and send my family the bill.

"And what would it have looked like had the voters of Alambama rioted, and been killed by the hundreds by the army in Montgomery?"

Nice Strawman, Strawman!

"Or the black listing and harassment of Americans by the FBI in the early 50's?"

Yeah, yeah, yeah, and the Rosenbergs were innocent, right Straw? Perhaps, you haven't kept up on the volumes of documentation that has come out the former USSR proving that Soviets were actively trying to integrate themselves into the American entertainment industry throughout the mid-20th century.

"Our President shakes hands with these people every day, pats them on the back and looks into their eyes and sees........ money and keeps his mouth shut."

Really? What world leader did he shake hands with today that then went home and ran over his people with tanks and shot them indiscriminately? Nice imagery, Straw, but your comment is devoid of specifics and any intellectual content. Just because you’d like something to be true or it sounds really neat when you write it, doesn’t make it true.

"Tiennamin was horrific and dramatic but not special or unique."

Maybe not in Cuba, China, the former USSR, or other communist countries, Straw. But certainly unique from the perspective of Western democracies.

“But the images of Tinenemin un-contextualized are just propaganda.”

Oh really? What context do you suppose that video requires, Straw? You want to make that asinine statement to one of the parents who lost a child? Perhaps if you put it in the right “context,” the parent will feel better. Maybe, you could explain that their child was an enemy of the State (and thus “the people”) and, therefore, Comrade Mao dictates that the person must be killed. Heck, maybe you could provide them with a copy of your very own little Red Book.

Hey Straw, when Rodney King got the shit beat of him by all those police and it was caught on video, were you in the middle of South Central demanding the folks keep the video in proper context? Yeah, I can just imagine you walking up to a large group of black men in South Central, looking them in the eye, and saying “Boo Fucking Hoo!” Yeah, that would be interesting.

Posted by: Blu on Jun. 6, 2006

Wait a minute... how does someone equate the actions of one group existing in a society where they can vote, participate, and affect the actions of their government to the actions of a group where choice and freedom is nonexistent?

And on the subject of decontextualization: How does someone present the actions of militant groups in the context of freedom fighters without analyzing the claims, goals, and actions of said groups? How does one separate out the laudable goals and stances and ignore the racism and violent actions?

Also, how does someone talk about strikes without talking about the gains labor has made since the 20's? How does one mention the effect of racism in the Deep South in the 50s without mentioning the gains since then? Gains that occurred due to participation in the political process, and where needed, peaceful, idealistic demonstrations, such as the ones Martin Luther King participated in? How does one attempt to take examples of shortcomings of the past and apply them to the present as if nothing has changed since then?

If you look at the images from Tiananmen and apply the context, what do you have? Yes, context is missing from images like Man-in-front-of-tanks -- we miss the fact that there were also those who opposed economic liberalization, we miss the fact that the protestors didn't agree to dialogue through government appointed officials, we miss the fact that they rejected the dialogue precisely because the government only wanted to talk to appointed student leaders and not elected ones... yes, it's true, we're missing a lot of context. Such as one of the protest leaders saying ""We don't want China to plunge into chaos nor do we want the ruling party to give up power. We only want the Chinese people to live freely and with dignity."
(source). But what's left when the context is taken into account is a lot closer to Anni's freedom comment than anything else. And no, accepting the narrative of Tiananmen is not an attempt to put a balm on the actions of our past, it's an attempt to empathize with the characteristics we value displayed by others. Such as the man standing in front of the tanks. No one knows who he is -- for all we know, he might have been one of those protesting against economic reform. But he had the guts to stand up for his beliefs in the face of a tank, and that's something we respect. Not out of schadenfraud against "commies", not out of shame for our past, but out of respect for an individual expressing his stance. Saying an image is "uncontextualized" (sic) and labeling it propoganda missed the point. And says more about the commenter than the original subject being commented on.

Posted by: ElMondoHummus on Jun. 6, 2006

This video's a good reminder to South Koreans about the country they want to cozy up to in their haste to divorce themselves from America. I've long said that China will be a much harsher mistress than the US ever was. Is Korea in such a hurry to return to being China's vassal state?

As an American who lives in Asia and now has some understanding of the Asian viewpoint, I'll say this: things work more slowly in Asia. The seeds of democracy have been planted, and there are people of conscience quietly working toward a better day in China. Take heart: think in terms of centuries, not decades. Not an easy task for us Americans; we like instant solutions. But right now, in China, a quiet group of Michelangelos is chipping away at the monolith of communism. Trust that there's a Lady Liberty hidden inside, stronger than any stone.

It may not be happening fast enough, but it's happening. People haven't forgotten.


Posted by: Kevin Kim on Jun. 7, 2006

Time for just a few thoughts tonight.

Why pick on Ethel and Julius when I said thousands?

The beating of RK was in context. LA cops are a reliably racist enty and that incident was a perfect example and consistant with the data.

And more importantly to you and all the others:

My criticism of the democracy's of the planet, ours in particular DOES NOT MEAN I condone or don't abhor the atrocities of ALL GOVERNMENTS! Marxist, Leninist, Capitalist. ALL, I am not sympathic to the CHinese and felt they were BAD PEOPLE. Jeezz! Please read and do not infer what I have not implied.

I just do not feel the atrocities, diminished as they may be,(although Iraq is pretty major as was Vietnam), of America get a pass because others do worse! Do you? America does way better than the Soviets did, the Chinese and most others, but sometimes she gets it real wrong and it must be acknowledged and if persitant it must be attacked no less vociferously than if it were the Chinese.


YOu are the punk ass as are all who stand on the sidlines and applaud as the democracy they cherish get trampled because the violence pleases their cowardly angry hearts.

I was beaten and gassed in Madison in '67,( and dozens of time hence) and saw heads cracked open and the only punks there were guys like you who though they had lost a great opportunity to get interviewed by Dow Chem and whined that their rights were abridged. My answer then as it is now Boo fucking hoo! Dickweed.


I certainly hope you are right. Generally I think of the adage about the wheat bending to the wind when I think of the long range outcome and unfortunately I don't envision the wind as democracy.

Posted by: strawman on Jun. 7, 2006